Law.com, Law Dean Takes Her Breast Cancer Fight to Twitter:
The bracelets arrived at the perfect time.
The first week of April was a low point in University of Missouri School of Law Dean Lyrissa Lidsky’s four-month-old battle with breast cancer. She’d recently wrapped up her fourth round of chemotherapy and a bout of bronchitis had exiled her to her home for a week of recovery—doctor’s orders. Being away from the campus and job she loves was difficult, she said.
Then her husband arrived home with a handful of rubber bracelets for Lidsky and the couples’ three sons, emblazoned with the words: “I Am Lidsky Strong.” Her law school colleagues had ordered the bracelets, which were distributed to faculty, students and staff. Even staff from the university provost and chancellor’s offices picked up bracelets, as did some undergraduates. It was a much-needed pick-me-up for Lidsky.
“My colleagues thought they wanted a tangible sign of support,” Lidsky said in an interview this week, having kicked the bronchitis and returned to work. “It really brightened my day and made me feel good.”
She credits the unwavering support of her family, her faculty and her students with helping her stay optimistic about her health and manage her treatment while also running the law school—a balancing act she knows of only one other law dean taking on.
And unlike that other dean, who did not publicly disclose the diagnosis, Lidsky has chosen to be transparent about her treatment. She has documented much of the process through her popular Twitter feed, which has more than 3,000 followers. ...
She said this week that she felt the need to be up-front about her diagnosis and treatment as the public face of the law school. Her bald head is an obvious giveaway that she has cancer, and she wants the law school community to understand that her prognosis is good, with a likely chance of full recovery. Moreover, she leans toward transparency in general. ...
Missouri Law professor Ben Trachtenberg said Lidsky’s ability to manage the school and cancer has been inspirational.
“I appreciate how she has kept us informed about what she can and cannot do,” he said in an email. “It turns out that even with her cancer treatments, there’s not much she can’t do. But when she can’t be in the building, like when she has a chemo appointment, she tells us who to contact about what so nothing slips through the cracks.”
A law dean needs to project optimism about their institution, according to Lidsky, and that outlook has carried over into her cancer treatment—in turn helping her manage through the most difficult days of chemotherapy.